How to Quickly Gather Hard Drive Health Information in DOS

Article ID: 274
Last updated: 24 Jan, 2014
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Posted: 24 Jan, 2014
by Andrew Sharrad
Updated: 24 Jan, 2014
by Andrew Sharrad

Gathering SMART Information

All modern hard drives keep SMART information which can be used to quickly tell if a hard drive has had any reliability events so far during its life.

The third party utility below allows you to read SMART information from a hard drive in a DOS environment. This means that the system does not have to be booted or logged into Windows.


  • Download the ISO from the website -
  • Burn to CD or alternatively convert for use on a USB pen drive
  • Boot the system to be tested from the CD
  • Run HDAT2
  • Select the hard drive to be examined
  • Select the SMART menu
  • Use the Read Atttribute DATA to look at the SMART information
Note: This utility is the property of a third party and is linked here for reference only. No warranties implied.

Analysing At the Results

Look at the following values to identify a failing drive or a drive that requires further testing:

  5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct
 10 Spin_Retry_Count 
 11 Calibration_Retry_Count 
196 Reallocated_Event_Count 
197 Current_Pending_Sector 
198 Offline_Uncorrectable 
199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count 

If the drive shows perfect health (i.e. zero for all of the above values) then it is likely to be a drive in good working order. If the drive has problems, run the manufacturer's dianostic test to see if it has reached the manufacturer's failure threshold, which could be lower than the drives overall "SMART failure" threshold.

Theshold Example

The table below illustrates the possible differences between a drive that could pass SMART but fail the manufacturer's test (50 reallocated sectors in the example) or it may pass the manufacturer's test but have definite problems and will likely fail (20 reallocated secotrs in the example).

Number of Reallocated Sectors Drive Health
0 Perfect.
1 The drive has experienced a problem but the user is unlikely to be impacted.
20 Drive is failing. It is likely to be slow and the user may be impacted.


(for example)

Drive may now fail the manufacturer's test.


(for example)

Drive now passes its own SMART failure threshold and the BIOS will display a SMART warning, if supported.

Applies to:

  • All desktop and laptop products

This article was:  

Also read
item How to Quickly Gather Hard Drive Health Information in Windows
item Western Digital Data Lifeguard Diagnostic May Report Inaccurate Hard Drive Health Information

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